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Monday, December 13, 2010

National coverage of reinstated racist Little Rock cop David Edgmon:

Corruption Sucks Blog Sez:

FBI! Justice Dept.!

ACCORDING TO THE URBAN DICTIONARY: A "Jigaboo" is...(click this link)

White Little Rock officer's reinstatement after using racial slur raises tensions in city

WREG, Memphis Tennessee | Baxter Bulletin, Mt. Home, AR |Connecticut Post:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The reinstatement of a white Little Rock police officer recorded on video using a racial slur has led to a call for the resignation of three Civil Service commissioners who voted for reinstatement.

Twenty-four-year-old Officer David Edgmon was fired Aug. 24 for conduct unbecoming an officer, being intoxicated in public and engaging in activities that "could result in the justified criticism" of the officer and the Police Department. Edgmon appealed and the commission voted Nov. 18 to reinstate him with a 30 day suspension.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports a letter from Little Rock Black Police Officers Association Terrell Vaughn calls for the resignation and says Edgmon's return to the department is an "injustice."

Commissioner Ron Routh said the commission agreed that Edgmon broke department rules, but didn't agree with the severity of the punishment.

Edgmon could not be reached for comment.

KATV Little Rock, Arkansas:

Many Oppose Reinstatement of Little Rock Police Officer

Many are opposing the reinstatement of a Little Rock police officer.
24-year-old officer David Edgmon was fired on August 24th for unbecoming conduct of a police officer. Edmon was recorded using racial slurs to a group of black men.
Edgmon appealed his removal and was reinstated with a 30 day suspension. 

According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, a letter from Little Rock black police officers association calls for the resignations of three civil service commissioners who voted for Edgmon's reinstatement.

KTHV Little Rock:
Updated Dec 12, 2pm CST

A Little Rock Police Department reinstates an officer who was fired for what was caught on a YouTube video.

The Little Rock Police Department fired Officer David Edgmon on August 24, citing inappropriate conduct. He was captured on a YouTube video saying allegedly racist comments.

The group who made the video has posted a new video in response to Edgmon's reinstatement.

After an appeal the Civil Service Commission ruled to reinstate Egdmon. The commission is made-up of five people appointed by Mayor Mark Stodola and confirmed by the City Board of Directors.

The Little Rock Police Department spokesman Lt. Terry Hastings says LRPD took appropriate action by firing Officer Egdmon. He went on to say it stands by that decision.

Since the commission decision Nov. 18 to reinstate Edgmon, the Little Rock Police Black Police Officers Association has spoke out against it.

THV's Eboné Monét will have more on "Today's THV at 6:00" and todaysthv.com.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

LR officer’s reprieve stirs racial tensions

LITTLE ROCK -- Black police officers and civilians say they’re still angry over last month’s reinstatement of a young, white Little Rock officer who was fired after being recorded on video uttering a racial slur.

The man who recorded the video and others also are critical of the city Civil Service Commission’s Nov. 18 decision to put David Edgmon back on the force. During an off-duty night of heavy drinking in the River Market, Edgmon used the word “jigaboo” after flashing his badge at a group of young people.

In a letter last week, Little Rock Black Police Officers Association president Terrell Vaughn called for the resignation of the three commissioners who voted to reinstate Edgmon.

“It’s an injustice to the fellow officers of this department, employees of the city, and the citizens of the great city of Little Rock for Officer Edgmon to have been reinstated,” wrote Vaughn, who said his letter was approved by the association’s board.

“The commission in this single reinstatement has set a precedent for future such incidents by allowing the defense of ‘I was intoxicated’ and ‘I was ignorant of my own immoral actions’ be sufficient explanations for such behavior.”

Edgmon, 24, was fired in August for conduct unbecoming an officer, being intoxicated in public and for engaging in activities that “could result in the justified criticism” of the officer and the Police Department.

During last month’s appeal hearing before the commission, Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas called Edgmon’s behavior embarrassing.

“I don’t know what part of this incident was becoming of an officer,” Thomas said.

Edgmon’s behavior and use of a racial slur, he said, is “insulting to our department and to the community.”

An emotional Edgmon appealed to the commission for understanding.

“Everyone makes mistakes, and I know I made a big one that night. All I can ask for is forgiveness and for a second chance,” the officer said.

In reversing his dismissal, commissioners handed Edgmon a 30-day suspension.

Attempts to reach Edgmon for this story were unsuccessful.


Officers aren’t the only ones expressing frustration with the commission’s reversal.

Matt Dizzle, whose production company, Ill Legal Productions, filmed the River Market exchange, said he’s disgusted by the action.

“It just seems like local government accepts and condones racism,” he said. “Firing him was just for show until things calmed down.”

Dizzle, a hip-hop music artist, said his camera crew was in the River Market that night outside Ernie Biggs’ piano bar promoting a new album. He posted the footage online atyoutube.com.

“I’m just really upset and disappointed,” Dizzle said. “When I dropped the video, I got all these messages about how this kind of thing happens on a regular basis. This is the South, and this is how it goes in the South. Blacks are unfairly targeted lots of times. They don’t believe anyone’s going to believe their word over a police officer’s word."

When Edgmon was fired, Dizzle said, many in the community were pleased at what they saw as a sign that city leaders were moving forward. That made the reinstatement sting more, he said.

“I feel like the Little Rock government just kind of spit in everyone’s face,” he said. “That set us back years and years on race relations.”

City Director Ken Richardson said anyone who thinks city leaders condone racial bias is wrong.

“That’s erroneous. That was an unfortunate incident.I know the chief was upset that the decision was reversed,” he said. “I know a lot of the rank-and-file officers are upset. And certainly people in the community have strong feelings about that.

Richardson, who is black, added that he believes his fellow city board members are similarly disappointed.

Richardson said he’s “anxiously awaiting” results of another police internal investigation of a July 19 encounter that he had with Eliot Young, a white special weapons and tactics team member.

Young reportedly approached Richardson and asked him why he was wearing a Little Rock Police polo shirt, which prompted a heated exchange. The incident intensified when Young reportedly grabbed Richardson’s arm and told him to keep his hands visible.

The incident ended only after the city director used his cell phone to call Thomas, who had given Richardson the shirt.

Thomas said the investigation of that incident is in its final stages and should be completed by the end of the year.


The chief said he was frustrated that the Edgmon incident may have harmed the department’s reputation with black citizens.

“I thought I made it pretty clear that I found his comment was unacceptable,” he said. “It was insulting to the department and the community.”

Thomas said he’s tried to work with leaders of the black officers association to address their concerns about minority recruitment and other issues they’ve brought to his attention.

A May 20 memo from the association indicated that some black officers were concerned that the Edgmon internal investigation was taking too long and that previous similar investigations weren’t taken seriously.

“This video has been out for months,” one unnamed officer was quoted in the memo. “Many things have been disregarded and laughed at. A little slap on the hand and then you go back to work.”

Thomas said he takes all internal investigations seriously.
He pointed out that the entire chain of command,including several supervisors, agreed that Edgmon should be fired.

So how will Edgmon now operate in a department with leadership and some fellow officers who believe he shouldn’t wear a badge?

“Ultimately that’s going to be up to him,” Thomas said of Edgmon. “He knows and understands what we expect. He has a sense that this is a second chance. Ultimately, the burden of proving himself professionally is going to come down to him.”

Commissioner Ron Routh defended the commission’s decision, saying the panel gave Edgmon the strongest punishment possible, short of termination. The commission agreed that the officer broke department rules, but didn’t agree with the severity of the punishment.

“I was part of a majority that listened to all of the facts of the matter - not hypothesis, not after-the-fact information, not general statements,” he said. “We listened to all of the facts in the matter.”


Routh, a certified instructor for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, periodically teaches in-service courses to Little Rock police officers on “enhancing relationships,” “disagreeing in an agreeable fashion,” and professional ethics.

He stressed that he accepts no compensation when teaching Little Rock officers to avoid the appearance of a conflict because he is on the commission.

Routh said he’s heard from several officers, including some in the black officers group, who disagreed with Vaughn’s letter.

Routh said he’s unaware of racial tension within the department.

“I feel that I have a very strong and long-standing relationship with everyone in the police department that has been there for any length of time,” he said. “We have two assistant chiefs that both happen to be African American. I've known them both since they came to work for the police department.”

In the black officers association letter, Vaughn said some officers “have a serious problem receiving any future training from Mr. Routh due to the fact that Mr. Routh has clearly demonstrated in his vote ... that he and other commissioners lack sensitivity toward the African American Community.”

Routh said he was disappointed to be singled out in the letter because “of the positive relationship that I’ve had with all officers within that department for over 20years.”

“I stand by my reputation, and I’m proud of the way I’ve helped the city of Little Rock and the police department.”

Richardson, director of community programs for the nonprofit New Futures for Youth, has coordinated gang intervention and prevention programs in Little Rock for more than 20 years. He said he knows many young blacks don’t trust the police but that he’s not sure if their concerns are “real or perceived.”

“We would try to dispel that notion that police were singling them out. I tell our young people not to look at all officers the same way,” he said, citing programs designed to have police officers interact with the city’s youths. “We were real deliberate about trying to break down those barriers.”

The Edgmon incident, Richardson said, may unfortunately reinforce a perception “that’s already out there.”

“That this young man would display that kind of behavior in public and at the same time purport to represent the Little Rock Police Department ... the Little Rock Police Department officers are more professional than that.”

The only way to combat clear-cut cases of racial bias by officers is to punish the behavior, he said.

Thomas said the Edgmon affair highlights the difficulty of addressing negative and sometimes erroneous perceptions in the community.

“Do I condone institutional racism and am I personally a racist? My answer is an emphatic no. I don’t think my life will reflect that.”

Thomas said he hopes the Edgmon case will help the department improve.

“Maybe this incident can put some light on the racial tensions that currently exist in this department and help mend the gap.”

Comments on LR officer’s reprieve stirs racial tensions

MEnLR says...

Wonder how many blacks ole' Ronnie Routh has working for him? Not that he should have a certain number because they are simply black, but .....just seems I have never had a black tow truck driver when I have called Routh's in the last 10 yrs.
It is OK to be one way, but not to claim you aren't that way, when you are.

December 12, 2010 at 5:38 a.m. 

Oldearkie says...

If that is the worst this cop does, be thankful and get over it. So far he hasn't invaded anyone's home and killed the occupant has he? Notice that it only white people that can be racist.
December 12, 2010 at 6:54 a.m. 

uss001 says...

Yup, that race card gets played way too much and often. Just every chance they get.
December 12, 2010 at 11:06 a.m. 

dranev_hotmail.com says...

Not surprised about the outcome. Little Rock and Arkansas for that matter is still back in the 1950s. It's not wonder the state has never been able to move forward socially and economically. I'm glad I left Arkansas and moved North.
December 12, 2010 at 11:18 a.m.

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